Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
When night fell, people returned to their huts for sleep. Ciamon found a place on the hill behind the fairgrounds where he could watch the humans. He learned nothing other than one of them must be a mage. In their tents they had light that didn’t flicker like fire but was constant. Only a mage could create that sort of light.
Wandering over the countryside his eyes fell on the ruins, as they always did. He blinked and could have sworn he saw light coming from it but when he tried to focus he couldn’t see it.
Sitting on the hill in the dark he must have fallen asleep. When he opened his eyes the tents were gone, as were the wagons, and the people. A quick look told him that the guards were gone too. Turning around to wake the guards and the village he came face to face with Aleenia. “They’ve taken the ancestors and they’re going to come back with the great serpent. We have to run.” She kissed him then for the first and last time before collapsing.
Carrying her back to her hut gave him time to think. The only way the guards would leave their post was if they were dead or dying. Since he hadn’t heard any alarms going off that meant four of the best guards in the village were dead. Worse, the humans had desecrated their dead and stolen their ancestors.
“Shaman, wake up. We need to evacuate the town.” He yelled entering the hut.
“What? Why is she out of her bed?” Being woken in the middle of the night made the shaman look older and she was.
“She came to me as I was sleeping. The Humans are gone, they’ve killed the guards, and taken the ancestors.”
“We must hunt them down.” She replied indignantly. It was the same emotion he had felt until Aleenia had told him that there were more coming.
“I agree they must pay but she said there were more of them and they were coming for the village. We must escape. I’ll take two hunters and try to reclaim the ancestors. You must get the village to safety.”
“I’ll take them…” He cut her off before she could tell him.
“No,” he said panicked, “It’s better if I don’t know. If I’m captured…” He trailed off.
For an instant it looked like she was going to argue with him. When she didn’t, he kissed Aleenia on the forehead and whispered, “I’ll find you.”
Choosing two hunters for what he had assumed was a suicide mission turned out to be more difficult than he had thought. He finally settled on two older men with no families. When he spoke to them, he could tell that they knew the reason they were chosen.
Once they were dressed in reinforced leathers and equipped with weapons, they headed out. The caravan of traders should have been easily tracked. They weren’t, and both of his companions asked Ciamon several times if he was sure of where he was going.
If it hadn’t been for his gift, Ciamon would have given up, but he could feel a pull towards the old ruins. They didn’t take the slower route that would lead them up a slow slope. Instead he took them straight up the small mountain that lead to the ruins. He hoped by taking a direct route they could catch up to the caravan.
Once they had reached the plateau of the mountain, Caimon looked back and could see the long train of people leaving the village. Before he could start wondering where they were going he turned his eyes back to the ruins.
Excitement rose inside him, he’d waited a long time to go to those ruins. As the excitement grew, so did the guilt. He wasn’t here to explore, he was going into a forbidden place to save his ancestors and his pack.
When they finally had the caravan in their sights, Ciamon bent over and whispered to one of the hunters, “I can feel the ancestors in that wagon. I’ll distract them and you sneak up and steal the wagon. Get back to the village and follow the others if you can. If not, go to the neighbouring village.”
“What about me?” asked the other hunter.
“You have the most important job…” With a sly smile, Ciamon paused before saying, “You get to save me when I get captured.” The two hunters laughed uncomfortably. It was well known that Ciamon wasn’t great at getting out of traps. He could easily find them and avoid them, but couldn’t seem to get out of them when he tried. Finding a way out was just a figure of speech unfortunately.
Motioning the hunter that would steal the carriage, Ciamon ran out with his spear in hand. He had a knife and a sword sheathed at this belt but he thought he’d make a bigger impression yelling and throwing a spear at one of those large barrels on one of the wagons.
Running out he let out a death howl that would have made the thunder lizards his father occasionally hunted, run in fear. The caravan stopped and several of the men pulled out small curved metal clubs. Ciamon threw the spear as hard as he could at one of the wagons that carried the goods. There was only one driver and no-one else he could accidently hit if he missed his target.
The spear flew straighter and harder than he’d expected. He watched with pride as it hit the barrel making a satisfying clink as it penetrated the metal. He didn’t have much time to celebrate before he heard a rumbling and the wagon was engulfed in flames. Ciamon was thrown backwards and landed on his back. As he stood up he could see a large chunk of metal sticking out of the ground next to him.
The wagon was on fire and the caravan was moving with a calm efficiency to put it out. They didn’t notice as the hunter knocked out the driver and stole the wagon containing the ancestors. To make sure they didn’t see, Ciamon stood up, and howled, almost falling from dizziness.